Last month we spent a weekend in La Jolla, California at the beautiful La Valencia Hotel. It was a refreshing weekend with family and friends, but at one point I had to combat a serious bout of mom guilt.
We were at a swanky seaside restaurant for dinner and were seated on the patio. My desert-dwelling self wasn’t prepared for the evening chill and I was agonizing over whether or not I had bundled Everly enough.
I ventured to the restroom hoping to find a changing table and a secluded place to nurse, but wouldn’t you know it – those things don’t exist in swanky restaurants! As I slid two chairs together into a makeshift changing table, I began to berate myself:
“I should’ve thought things through more before bringing Everly on this trip.”
“Who brings a two month old to a restaurant like this?!”
“Why didn’t I think to bring warmer clothes?!”
“Am I a bad mom? Or worse… do they think that I’m a bad mom?”
At that moment, an elderly woman entered the restroom and interrupted my thoughts. Seeing Everly brought a HUGE smile to her face. She came close to admire her and we exchanged a little small talk.
Then she let her guard down.
She told me how she regretted not having a child of her own. Instead of having children, she toured the world as a career ballerina performing in famous shows, including Swan Lake.
“Wow, that’s amazing!” I told her. “What an accomplishment!”
A look of sadness washed over her face as she replied, “I thought so at the time. But now look at me – I have nothing to show for it.”
My heart broke. Not only for the regret and pain I heard in her voice, but because I recognized in her my own need to seek out significance and worth in accolades.
In being the best mom, the best teacher, blogger, sister, etc. My list of identity-definers is limitless.
And so unsatisfying.
Each pursuit leaves me disappointed and empty because only one pursuit, one identity, can ever truly fulfill me.
And that is Christ.
He redeemed me when I was irredeemable. My life in him has purpose and meaning that extends beyond this present reality and into eternity. Motherhood fades, careers come and go, and trophies and accolades will burn up in the end – but my my status as a daughter of the King will never end.
So why do I strive for perfection in temporary titles? I think it will be my life-long struggle. But the fight to honor and love the Lord above all else is a worthy one.
Before I had time to process my thoughts into a meaningful response, the woman was gone and Everly and I were left alone in the bathroom. I deeply regret not being able to share the hope of the gospel with her!
My prayer is that by sharing this story, someone reading might be encouraged! This journey is nothing apart from Jesus. His grace and salvation are sufficient in this life and for all eternity!